This is a question I will often ask myself as I reexamine where I am at this particular point in my life. I have worn lots of labels through the years. Some I self identified with and others may have been placed on me by others. With each of these labels comes certain assumptions and guesses about who I am or what I believe and how people think I spend my time.
I am a home school mom living in the midwest. At this point in my life that is a very large part of my identity. Yet even now I realize my kids are growing quickly and that will one day change. From time to time I think about what makes me just me. Not Serona's wife, not my kid's mom, not my kid's teacher, but me all by myself. How does anyone answer that question anyway? What do I like to do for fun? A friend of mine recently had that question posed to her and she was intially unsure of how to even begin to answer. Many homeschool mothers are just in a stage of life and have made choices about our priorites that make majority of what we do related to our kids and our husband. That is not neccesarily a bad thing but it is something different from people in a different place of life.
I do not think this is a bad thing and I do love what I do, at this point I can not thing of anything else I would rather be doing right now. I do wonder from time to time how I would explain myself outside of my relationships with my kids, my realtionship with my husband and my job as a home educator. I know that is enough and probably the most honest explanation of who I really am at this moment. Still I know I am more than this and parts of me are in hibernation and parts of me have not yet been discovered at this point in my journey and that is all well and good.
I recently decided I wanted to explore more of this "hidden" side of me and asked some ladies I know to have a different kind of ladies night out. I asked if we could set down some guidelines of topics we would NOT talk about, namely kids, spouses, homeschooling and any outside jobs. I am interested in hearing what other women think about books, art, music, sports, hobbies, etc and getting outside of my box and all the "natural" conversations we have. I want to do some different things than I do on an every day basis as well. I love watching my kids sports games, I really do, but I also would enjoy going to a poetry slam, an art museum for my own interests, a sports event without children or even dancing downtown occasionally.
The time when my children will leave is going to come sooner than I would like and I will miss the fact that I could only get 3 minutes and 14 seconds alone in the shower before hearing one of them calling for me. I know then I will need to remember who I am without children and I don't want to lose sight of that person and continue to grow that person I am just as myself. Still that is a delicate balance of just honestly wanting to enjoy every minute of this life with young children right now, while they still like me, embracing and living it to the fullest.
I am not a mom who prefers to be away from her kids. I am not a wife who feels the need to leave my husband behind for time alone. Often Serona has to literally push me out of the door to get away by myself for just a bit. I enjoy being with them and I enjoy that people think of me as Serona's wife, my kids mom, a home educator and all things related to that identity. Still I love politics, poetry, research, argument, travelling, biking, long walks on the beach, hiking, dancing, good live Irish music, modern art, live performances, sporting events, and so many other things I have yet to discover. I think a break every now and then from the common threads of my life to find what still lies underneath will be healthy for me.
I no longer have a nursing child, no babies who can't cope with my absence, really no reason I can't go out every once in awhile without another member of my family. It feels weird, but it is a good different, and I don't want to jump too far too fast because honestly I am still going to choose watching my son's baseball game, daughter's swim meet, reading to my youngest, or having a date with Serona over just about any other actiivity. Still an occasional foray back into things I enjoy just for me can only be healthy for me I think. So here is to finding out a bit more about who I am today and who my friends are all on their own.